On Wednesday, the Punjab and Haryana High Court affirmed the life sentence given to a man who had sexually assaulted his own 12-year-old niece in 2008. The Court made the following observation after noting that the accused was the victim’s actual uncle:

The factual matrix of this appeal is unfortunately related to a sordid and obnoxious incident, where the appellant, who is the real uncle of the victim, raped his niece, a girl child of the tender age of 12 years. The result was that the sacred relationship of uncle and niece was besmirched. Such offenders are a menace to civilised society and have to be dealt with strictly as per law. It is an act, which is not only a blow to her supreme honour and offends her self-esteem and dignity, it degrades and humiliates the victim and where the victim is a helpless child or a minor, it leaves behind a traumatic experience. Such crime is not only a crime against a minor innocent child, rather it is a crime against the entire society.”

As a result, the appeal brought by the defendant (Chaman Lal Chimnu) against the conviction and sentence imposed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Kurukshetra, was denied by the justices Sureshwar Thakur and N. S. Shekhawat. The victim’s uncle Chaman Lal @ Chimnu (appellant/accused) broke into their home on August 19, 2008, as the complainant (victim’s father) and his wife (victim’s mother) were leaving for Kurukshetra to pick up the medications. After kicking out the victim’s younger siblings, he forcibly took the “victim” inside the room after grabbing her from her arms.

The incident was reported to the police, who took the victim’s statement down and detained the accused. The police then delivered their final report in accordance with Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code after locating sufficient damning evidence against the appellant/accused. Throughout the trial, the defendant made the decision not to provide defence testimony. According to the contested decision and order issued by the Additional Sessions Judge’s court in Kurukshetra, the appellant was found guilty of violating Sections 376, 452, and 506 of the IPC and given a life sentence. The accused petitioned the High Court to contest his conviction.

Judgment observations The Court found no merit in the accused’s claim that he was involved in the case due to a dispute over an ancestor’s property. The “victim” had provided a complete account of the occurrence in her evidence, which the court deemed to be credible. The court also expressed the opinion that it was improbable for a 12-year-old girl to fabricate a tale about her real-life uncle being sexually assaulted or raped on her own, and that it was improbable for her parents to instruct their young daughter to do so in order to exact revenge.

“They wouldn’t do it for the obvious reason that it would damage their own social standing in society as well as their own child’s chances for the future. They should also be aware of the child’s psychological impact from the trauma and the unfavourable outcomes that are likely to follow when she grows up. Therefore, we reject the defence attorney’s assertions that the appellant had been deceitfully ensnared in at the father of the victim “The Court made a comment.

Consequently, the Court found no merit in the arguments advanced by the counsel for the appellant and dismissed the present appeal as being without merit. This was done by rejecting the testimony of PW-10 Ashok Kumar and PW-11 the “victim” on the basis of minor discrepancies that are bound to appear in the testimonies of truthful witnesses.

Chaman Lal Chimnu v. State of Haryana

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